As Director of Finance Operations, Sarah Jimenez manages the entire order-to-cash process at Branch. She started her career at Branch as Manager of Billing Operations five and a half years ago with zero direct reports, and now manages three teams with dozens of direct and indirect reports stationed across the globe in India, China, London, New York, Chicago, California, and Texas (and her team is still hiring!)
When Sarah isn’t at work, she’s either spending time with her son, studying, playing tennis, or gardening (at least trying to). On top of this, she dedicates her weekends to philanthropic endeavors. She’s passionate about what she does at work, but is already looking forward to a retirement where community activism becomes her full-time mission.
What do you want people to know about Branch?
This is the best place I’ve ever worked. The trust I receive to build and learn every day is a unique asset of Branch, and that’s the framework that enabled me to build a global team.
What made you choose Branch?
I joined for the people, but I’m staying for the impact.
Shortly after I joined, the conversation about founding employee resource groups (ERGs) really got started. Seeing the opportunity to build a global team while helping build an infrastructure of ERGs that have an impact not only in the Branch community, but also outside of Branch, is what makes me stay. It reaffirmed that this is the place I want to be. Here, I have the opportunity to not only build and scale finance operations, but also to support diverse and often underserved communities through ERG efforts.
What do you love about your job?
People. 100%. Hands down. Specifically, I love the diversity of my team. I’ve always had the priority of a diverse team, but I never imagined we would accomplish it to the scale that we have.
How does the diversity of your team impact your day-to-day work?
Diversity influences everything. Every decision that we make, every project that we work on is made better with a diverse group of people. Everyone brings their unique and particular perspective to every project or problem, and I would say that is one of the things that has made us most successful over the years.
What motivates you at work every day?
At the beginning of my career, I was results-driven. I was metrics-focused all the time, and I learned a lot along the way. At this stage of my career, particularly at a startup like Branch, I’ve realized that there’s more to work than metrics. Branch is moving fast, so now I’m people-driven in all that I do.
Working as a manager, I need to have my team as my number one priority and make sure we can find excitement in the variety of projects we take on in a fast-moving company. When I come to work with a people-first mentality, the results follow.
How has being a woman of color impacted your career?
It’s impacted me quite a bit, but I try to operate without paying attention to whether I look like everyone else in the room or not. When I started at Branch, it was a small team and I noticed that I’m part of a minority. Now, especially with the revamp of VIVA, an ERG serving the Hispanic and Latinx community, I’m joining meetings and seeing large groups of people who share my experience and my history. Seeing how much we’ve grown as a diverse company makes me feel that I’m one of many, giving me a sense of empowerment.
Now I don’t look at my professional self based on where I come from or that I’m a woman. Now I think of myself as a professional based on what I do every day. Everyone here is on an equal playing field and my identity isn’t something that makes me feel separate at work. Those things that do play a role outside of work do not play a role in how I come to Branch every day.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?
If things are not going right when it comes to a group or individual not performing, your first thought should be to look for problems in the process.
As a leader, you have to look at a group or a person struggling as an opportunity to better set them up for success, rather than blaming them for poor performance. As a manager, your focus should always be making processes and resources better for everyone on your team, ensuring they feel supported and motivated in doing good work.